Annoying software: Is Apple iTunes the new AOL?

Back in 2000 when AOL was king -- and incredibly irritating. Apple's iTunes seems to be catching up. Here are seven reasons why iTunes may be ready to don our Annoying Software crown.

4. Proprietary Problems

Both AOL and iTunes don't work well, or at all, with outside services. AOL's instant-messaging protocol is fully able to communicate only with the Google Talk instant-messaging service. It can't do the same with the IM platforms from Microsoft or Yahoo.

AOL also has a walled garden of tools and content accessible exclusively to users of its software. Its proprietary nature has changed a lot from the days when you could check your AOL e-mail only through AOL software. But you still need to use its software to access many AOL chat rooms, premium multimedia features, and parental controls.

iTunes has its own propensity for proprietary features. Want to play a non-iTunes video on your iPod? To do so for free, you'll have to hunt down a solid third-party tool for converting videos. Conversely, iTunes doesn't work with Microsoft's Zune digital audio device or other MP3 players.

Updated: Also, despite Apple's recent decision to sell some DRM-free songs, most iTunes tunes still play only on iPods, a couple of Motorola phones, or a computer with iTunes software on it. (DRM-free songs from iTunes, which used to cost 30 cents more than regular US$0.99 purchases, now are similarly priced.)

5. Lowest-Common-Denominator Attitudes

Just as AOL made getting on the Internet stupid-proof in the 1990s, Apple's iTunes made buying and downloading digital music and adding it to your iPod easy in the early 2000s. That ease of use comes with trade-offs. For example, iTunes does not allow you to add mobile-phone ring tones to your iPhone that you didn't purchase from Apple. And, as previously mentioned, iTunes won't transcode videos automatically — you have to use third-party software.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Tom Spring

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?